Are you inspiring?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

When leaders are told to be more inspiring, my experience as a coach is that most of time they are confused about what to do. Should they give more "high 5s"? Be perkier around the office? Stand up and give motivational speeches to employees?

Are you inspiring?

Be Inspiring

When leaders are told to be more inspiring, my experience as a coach is that most of time they are confused about what to do. Should they give more “high 5s”? Be perkier around the office? Stand up and give motivational speeches to employees?

We all know people who are inspiring. But do you need the grand ideas of a Henry Ford, a Steve Jobs or a Mahatma Gandhi to inspire people? Not necessarily. People are inspired by very different things, and often by small things. Consider the following:

Do you practice what you preach?

Important to inspiration is the integrity of the person leading. Yes, vision and passion are important, but employees must trust you to feel inspired. They must believe in you. Employees look up to a person who tells the truth, tries to do the right things and does their best. People watch what you do more than they listen to what you say.

Do you stand for what you believe in?

In order for other people to follow you, they have to know that your convictions inspire you to stand for something. They need to know where you stand on a given topic, and where they stand with you.

Do you share your influences?

Talk about the people who have inspired you. Quote from books you’ve found meaningful, share your personal stories, talk about your failures and achievements and what you’ve learned from them. The more people hear about others who have achieved meaning and success, the more likely they will be to believe that they can do so themselves.

Do you challenge people?

Most of us will rise to the expectations of the people who believe in us. Find reasons to believe in the people around you, and communicate your high expectations. Encourage them and let them know that you have faith that they will achieve what they set out to do. Help them raise the bar. People aren’t inspired by doing the ordinary or by meeting expectations. Encourage them to try new things and confront new obstacles they haven’t faced before. They’ll be inspired by the exertion, creativity, and sacrifice needed to exceed what they themselves thought possible.

Do you take a genuine interest in people?

Expectations and challenges won’t matter much unless you are also authentically caring about the people you’re hoping to inspire. Being a great listener and connecting emotionally with people is key.

Do you stay positive?

The process of inspiring others comes with no shortage challenges and negative naysayers. Self-doubt is a very contagious disease, and if you show any of it, you can easily destroy any positive influence you might have instilled in a person.

Do you share the credit?

Recognise the people around you for what they’ve done, and for their successes. Even when you are largely responsible for a particular victory, there’s no reason not to spread the wealth as far as credit and recognition are concerned. A leader who shares a success is someone other people will want to follow and even emulate.

A final thought “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”— Edith Wharton Vesalius In Zante (1564)